I just spent the last half hour going through all of the old drafts on this blog, as well as removing some of the other posts I did publish. While looking at this blog, it may look like I haven’t had much to say over the course of the last couple of years; that’s not at all the case.
Some time after I started writing on this again, I became really insecure about the things I was writing about. I didn’t want people to see that I struggled with things. I didn’t want loved ones to read that I’m not always 100% thrilled with the choices they make or the things they feel or believe in. And I didn’t want to make anyone sad. I like presenting myself as some sort of beacon of happiness, because that’s generally how people perceive me for some reason. I don’t like the thought of that facade fracturing, and revealing that I’m human. People feel comfortable coming to me for help, whether it’s for advice or just to vent, and in my mind, that must be because I am always such a source of positivity. I don’t want to let those people down.
So I began drafting posts, and saving the drafts, but never posting them. It was a good way to get my feelings out without getting them out. This morning, though, I realized I have some things I want to write about, and I want some of those things to be read. I decided to revive this blog. I’m not sure if I’ll tweet out any of the things I’m writing, or promote the entries in any way, but I’m not going to save secret drafts anymore. I can be open and honest about the things I think and feel and admit that sometimes, I get really fucking sad. And I can have that out in the open, which I didn’t realize until very recently.
This realization has come largely from having a very good group of supportive friends that value mental and emotional health, and speak openly about their own struggles, as well as offer solace when I’ve made the effort to voice mine. That attitude has taught me that everyone endures some sort of mental or emotional adversity at some point, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting it.
Lately, though, I’ve been much happier. At the beginning of 2018, I realized I was depressed. Not in the sense of being sad always, but in the sense of being in the doldrums. Every day was a cycle that repeated. I would wake up, drink coffee, work my 9-6 job, drink beer or bourbon, try to do something to unwind, go to bed, and do it all over again. I wasn’t getting any gratification from anything I did on a daily basis, but because I wasn’t in a state of emphatic despondency, I didn’t feel like I could really complain. Everything was just routine and the individual aspects of the routine were objectively good things, so my grievances weren’t justified. And I couldn’t point to anything that took me to that place, so I didn’t know what to change or fix or how to escape it. Eventually, I sought out therapy.
After two visits and four instances of reassurance that the therapy sessions I was attending were covered by my insurance, I received a bill for $325 and a bill for $250. I canceled my next visit and wrote a strongly worded letter to the therapist, suggesting that lying to people who likely have issues with trusting and opening up might earn her a living, but maybe isn’t the best way to go about being a professional (though much like the drafts I previously mentioned, I never sent it). I decided it was the wrong time for therapy, because I didn’t have that kind of money.
Eventually, I was offered a part-time job at a bar owned by some of my friends. Nothing fancy, just the closing shift on Sunday nights. Between the self-esteem boost I received from working this job (as it’s a job I take immense pride in), meditating more regularly, and spending my spare time (which is now immensely limited) doing important, productive things, I haven’t had too many instances of dark thoughts creeping into my day-to-day life.
Earlier this week, one of my best friends came out to visit for a few days. She and I met in Seattle at a video game convention back in 2015 and have kept in touch online since then. She’s become an amazing source of support, perspective, and general amusement, and having her here was an immense joy. It was one of those instances of a friendship blending seamlessly from online interaction to face-to-face interaction which, if you haven’t experienced, I can only describe as looking at clothing online and finding a shirt you really like, and having it fit perfectly when it shows up. If you haven’t experienced that, then I can’t fucking help you.
I took her to the airport early yesterday morning and was hit with a wave of sadness at the thought of her leaving. Generally, I’m ready for visitors and guests to leave by the time they are leaving. I love my personal time and space and can’t wait to get back to routine once it’s been disrupted. But this time I didn’t feel that. I just felt sad.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was at least partially because I’d spent several days having someone to go out and experience things with, which is something I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve been single for years now and that often results in the “fifth wheel” situation (which I’ve found I don’t do well in) or hanging out in more of a group setting, which doesn’t have the same level of personal connection that spending time with one person does. Having someone to just go do things with, and connecting through experiencing those things, is something I’ve really missed and something I greatly enjoyed. And I don’t mean it in any sort of a romantic way, just from the angle of genuinely connecting on a personal level with someone. Getting to do that for a few days was fantastic, and losing it was almost painful.
This is the first foray I’ve had into being sad again, after about two months of being happier, but I can tell I’ve grown because rather than wallowing in these feelings, I’m thinking about ways I can move past them. Maybe I can make more of an effort to spend time with friends one-on-one, and experience those moments of connection more often. I can also acknowledge that this feeling of being sad is temporary. By the end of today, I may have completely moved past it, but even if I don’t, I will eventually, so spending my day feeling like a fuck-up for being anything less than elated is silly.